Ateneo rallies past NU to sweep UAAP finals and cap perfect season with third straight crown
The Blue Eagles swept the  ulldogs and crowned their perfect season with their third straight title. Jaime Campos

IT was a perfect ending for a perfect season for Ateneo. 

Ateneo fought back from a 1-2 deficit to fashion out an 18-25, 25-16, 20-25, 25-18, 15-13 win over National University in Game Two and clinch its third straight UAAP men's volleyball title at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Saturday.

Four-time MVP Marck Espejo shone the brightest in the deciding set where the Blue Eagles turned 4-7 deficit into a 13-10 advantage.

With the championship on the line, the Bulldogs refused to fold and tied the count at 13-all before Rex Intal put Ateneo on top anew, 14-13. 

Espejo then blocked Fauzi Ismail in the final play to seal the team's championship for the unbeaten Blue Eagles.

The fourth-year spiker fired 27 points including 25 attacks but it was Tony Koyfman who emerged as the Finals MVP. 

Koyfman finished with 11 points, while Joshua Villanueva and Intal hd 10 each.

"Hindi namin in-expect na sweep but the Lord is good. It's the work of the Lord," said Ateneo coach Oliver Almadro.

“I admire the maturity and resiliency of the players. They just believed na kaya nila ang imposible," he added.

NU looked poised to extend the series after taking the third set 25-20. But things went downhill for the Bulldogs after that.

Ateneo got going in the fourth set and raced off to an 18-11 start before taking the frame, 25-18.

Ismail and Bryan Bagunas paced the Bulldogs with 24 and 20 points, respectively.

Kim Malabunga scored 11 points. 

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